Orthodox America

  Letters from Russia

 I cordially thank you for the books sent to me. I received them on Christmas Eve.

    It's a pity, but I still haven't received the back number of "Orthodox America" sent to me in the beginning of autumn. I don't know who is at fault: the postal service or Soviet customs. That unpleasant detail reminds me about the fact of living in the" land of wonders."

    So far, I haven't had time to do much more than look 'though the books of Fr. Alexey Young, "Orthodox Life," and the booklets, “The Teaching of the Holy Fathers.” Fr. Alexey's books are of great interest to me. The Ukrainian Uniate extremists threaten us that at the date of the Pope's arrival to Russia in 1992, the Orthodox Church will be driven into the catacombs. I hope that the Almighty and Merciful Lord will not allow it.

Vladimir, Kiev

Greetings, Fr. Victor!

    My name is Alexey, and I am writing you from the outskirts of Moscow. I've been listening to your broadcasts for about a year and a half (I began listening when I returned from the army). I try to listen to every broadcast, although I am not always able to do so. Besides the religious broadcasts ' Voice of America, I listen to Radio Liberty, the BBC, broadcasts from the island of Sai Pen, Radio Monte Carlo from Manila. Glory to God that there are such programs that can help us onto the path of truth, that can console us. If you only knew how vital the word of God, the word of truth is to us. Thank you!

    Victor, you asked listeners to give their opinions of your broadcasts. I shall try to do this.

     Your broadcasts stand out because you devote more time to catechism, explaining many of the Sacraments and rites which one cannot learn from the other religious broadcasts (the Liturgy, Communion, Baptism, etc.). In your broadcasts one hears talks by many Russian clergy. This is more meaningful to us Russians than abstract readings from the Bible, which don't relate Christianity to our roots. On Radio Monte Carlo the broadcaster A. Zakrariyy even said that one shouldn't wear a cross or pray before icons. I don't know, maybe he's right in his own way, but we Russians have a much closer affinity for our Orthodox faith than for Protestantism. /.../

     A bit about myself. I am 21 years old. A year and a If ago I returned from the army. Now I am studying in a technical school in Moscow. I believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. I came to faith through misfortune and disappointment in life, after much searching. After my stint in the army I became a Krishnaite, I read the Bhagavad Gita and other such literature. But I soon understood that this wasn't me. Sometimes I was on the verge of suicide. But your broadcasts and good people helped me to straighten out. I began to, understand that there is one Truth, and that it is found in Jesus Christ. I don't know, perhaps my coming to the faith was influenced by the fact that my great grandfather was a priest. He had a parish in the Kostroma region. In 1935 my great-grandfather, Fr. Alexey, was repressed and sent to Yuriev, where he soon died. We have never been able to find his grave. From then on, with the exeption of my grandfather, the rest of my family were all unbelievers Not a happy story. Glory to God that times have changed.

      I would he very pleased and grateful if you could send a photo of the St. John the Baptist cathedral in Washingand Metropolitan Philaret's book, Summary of the Law of God. I will pray that all those who are suffering and in need would receive an answer from you together with this book, which is so necessary to many believers.

      I bow down before you for you good work in bringing Truth to people, in sowing the seed "on good ground." A.G., Moscow region

Fr. Victor Potapov!

I am a Bulgarian, 36 years old, working and living in soviet Union with my family,

Fr. Victor, with each day I become more convinced of existence of God who looks after us, who loves us and is long suffering towards us. I try to attend church. There I feel more peaceful; I pray to God that He would make all people kind, that there would be no evil. And you know, He helps me! God made my parents more understanding, and l have become more understanding. It seems to me that people have become kind to me. I sometimes get together with an elderly man. He is a firm believer; he tells me that I do well to go to church with my children. Together we often discuss religious subjects. This man has read the Bible, the Psalter and the Gospels, and for this reason he knows more than I about theology (probably for this reason also his faith is stronger). I, of course, have looked for a Bible and a New Testament, but can't find them anywhere. This man gave me your address and said you could send me a Bible and New Testament.

      Fr. Victor, I would be immeasurably grateful if you could send me these books, although I have to say that I haven't any foreign currency and can only pay for them in rubles,

I thank you in advance, and may God bless you!

Ilya, Stavropol

Greetings! (addressed to Conciliar Press)

         May the peace of God be with you always!

        We received your address together with the brochure of Bishop Kallistos, "How to .Read the Bible."

        A bit about myself. I am 28 years old, married. A year ago the Lord gave us a daughter, in holy baptism, Maria. Five years ago I graduated from the history department of a pedagogical institute, I worked as a teacher in school; this past year I've been working in a secular charitable organization, the Children's Fund; we help orphans, needy children and needy families with many children. I am close to many clergy.

        My work often takes me to children's homes, orphanages and the homes of large families. And I see the thirst to learn about God, the soul-saving teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, in Russia today it is still difficult to find books of Holy Scripture--the Bible and New Testament, prayer books, books of akathists, theological literature, and books for soul-profiting reading for Orthodox Christian. Here we receive a lot of help from our brothers and sisters in the West, who, with their donations, send us Christian literature in Russian.

        I make bold to ask you also, and through you many, many Americans to help us get as many copies of the Gospel, the Bible, the Law of God, prayer books, akathists, Lives of Saints, spiritually edifying reading, theological books. All the books received I will give directly to the families of believers and those seeking God--primarily to large families, who are, as it were, small parishes in themselves. Children's editions I give to orphans in state homes, but we have very few such books.

       I likewise make bold to request you to send as much theological literature for the Kursk Diocesan parochial school which is opening in September.

        I'm enclosing several copies of my address where you can send packages of books. You may give these addresses to all those who should like to make a donation to the Christians of much suffering Russia--i.e., to send books for Orthodox. You can likewise publish these addresses in the local secular and church press with the request to donate to us books in Russian.

       To each person who writes to us and sends books we will reply personally.

        All the best! May the Lord grant you His abundant help in your work for the good of the Holy Church!

Write and send books to these addresses:

Dear (N.)

        ...I must tell you that this book [The Life of Jesus Christ] is fantastic. It is the first time I've seen such a book. It is not a book but a priceless treasure. Many thanks! I've already managed to read some of it. I reached the part when Judas betrays Christ. And you know, I wept. That has never happened with me. It is a very good book and all my friends praise it and ask where I got it. Again, thank you so much. Do not think that I am exaggerating. 

A 14 year old